The discovery of a new strain of Covid-19 in South Africa has cast a shadow on India's tour of the country. The Indian cricket team is scheduled to play three Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is in South Africa from December 17 to January 26, but the fact that the British Government announced that the country has returned to the red list because of the spread of the new variant, B.1.1.529 has put the tour in jeopardy.
Although the India A team is in South Africa to play three unofficial Tests, it remains to be seen whether the BCCI persists with its planned cricketing tour of the country. Amid reports of a possible pullout and growing Covid concerns, former South Africa batter and captain Farhaan Behardien is hopeful that the tour remains unaffected, in the best interest of the future of SA cricket.
"I hope the biggest cricket nation in the world tours our country next month!! The future generation of South African players need it more than ever," tweeted Behardien.
"Look, till we get a detailed picture of the ground situation from Cricket South Africa (CSA), we will not be able to tell our next step. As per the current plan, the Indian team is supposed to leave either on December 8 or 9 just after the New Zealand series gets over in Mumbai," said a senior board official told news agency PTI on Friday.
The new variant has already thrown sports in South Africa into turmoil. Two rounds of United Rugby Championship were postponed, with teams from Wales, Italy and Ireland trying to find their way out, while there were several withdrawals from a gold tournament as well. The Netherlands played a rain-marred ODI against the Proteas but the rest of their tour remains unsure as of this moment.